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Reference no. ESMT-413-0141-1
Compact case
Published by:
ESMT European School of Management and Technology (2013)
28 November 2013
4 pages
Data source:
Field research


The case serves as an illustration of organisational behavior when it comes to the issue of silence in organisations. It describes a critical leadership situation that requires speaking up against the orders of a superior in a hierarchical structure - in this case, the armed forces. When the protagonist, a young Israeli officer leading a special-forces platoon, receives an order that would put his platoon in extreme danger, he has to make a decision. The case is not concerned with combat situations, but rather with how to act as a responsible leader. Given the setting of an army unit governed by command and control, the initial case discussion is likely to focus on typical leadership issues, such as motivation and followership. However, the more interesting aspect concerns the dual roles that leaders typically have to fulfill, that is, they may be both leaders and followers. The protagonist of the case is a captain who receives an order from a major that will have consequences for the captain’s platoon. The core issue of the case is the decision to reject the order in question. Participants will discuss why speaking up is an issue in organisations and usually does not occur. The case also allows us to look at situations in high-risk organisations that allow open communication.


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